Why do cats jump on counters?
Cats love sitting in high places, it is a rooted behaviour passed down from their feline ancestors, wild animals that climb trees when hunting or as a way to stay safe from threats and observe their environment. This fact, along with the curious nature of cats, make counters a very attractive spot for them.
Why is it bad?
Although cats are very clean animals compared to other pets, cat paws are usually in direct contact with their litter, which means there’s always a chance their paws will transfer bacteria to your counter; a space where you prepare your meals.
There are all kinds of dangerous objects on your counter: sharp knives, heavy pots that are hung and can pose a danger to cats if they accidentally knock them down on themselves, glasses they may break and harm themselves, etc.
Remove the temptation
The first thing to do is to make counters less tempting. If you can identify what makes your cat love counters, removing it will solve the issue.
Is it scraps of food? Clean your counter regularly to remove food leftovers and smell and make sure your cat has enough to eat. Is there a window near your counter that your cat likes to look through? Keep the blinds closed whenever the cat is in the kitchen.
Give them alternatives
If your cat loves hanging out on your counter for no specific reason you can understand, what you should try next is to give them alternatives:
since cats love high spots, installing a cat tree in your place can prove a more alluring alternative to your kitchen counter.
Install high shelves all around your place, especially in a sunny, warm spot that your cat won’t be able to resist. Remember, cats are curious beings, so if you put a shelf near a window where they can look outside and satisfy their inquisitive nature, there’s a high chance your counter won’t hold the same appeal anymore.
In case the options above don’t work, try placing one of these deterrents on your counter:
Aluminum foil or paperbags:
Place aluminum foil on your counter. Most cats won’t like the noise aluminum foil makes when they jump on it. The sudden sound will no doubt scare them and the texture is not to their taste.
Double-sided sticky tape:
Cats dislike the texture, the way it sticks to their paws and hinders their movements. Place it on the edges of your counter to keep the cat away.
Citrus or peppermint scent:
most cats, though not all, hate the scent of citrus fruits and peppermint. Try cleaning your counter using a product with a strong citrus or peppermint scent.
Motion activated spray:
Put a system in place that will spray your cat whenever it gets on the counter. Please do not use this method if your cat is usually anxious. It will make it afraid and uncomfortable in your house.
Use environmental deterrents: make sure the deterrents are not related to you personally: Don’t push the cat off physically, don’t hit them or yell at them, don’t scare them, don’t punish them.
Cats can not associate the punishment with their jumping on the counter, so they will keep doing it. Punishing them will only serve to make them afraid of you, they might become stressed or even aggressive towards you.
Keep in mind, every cat is unique, so you may have to try several methods, some will work and some won't, until you find the one that works best for your cat.